AR/VR headset creator Magic Leap is partnering with major telecommunications company AT&T to enter the mobile market.
A previous interview with CEO Rony Abovitz in February 2018 had revealed that Magic Leap had been looking for a major partner in order to introduce its revolutionary AR/VR tech to the public, and that partnership has now come to life. AT&T confirmed the news on July 11, and clarified that it would be the exclusive wireless retailer of Magic Leap’s Creator headset. It also confirmed that the headset would be available for customers to try out in cities like Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. More markets will follow at a later date.
The company’s Magic Leap One headset (ML1) has been on the horizon for some time, and it is touted as a huge leap forward in VR/AR headset quality. As you might expect, the inner workings of the headset are highly complex, as it uses light to digitally paint objects directly onto your sight. While that might sound uncomfortable, Magic Leap has claimed that the process does not exhaust users, and is far more convincing than competing products.
The issues? While the ML1 can go portable thanks to the small Lightpack base station, it’s primarily designed for indoor use and is not the most attractive-looking product. It’s also rather large and bulky — despite being a lot slimmer than the competition. So while the ML1 may be the first product to bring us truly convincing virtual alternate realities, it’s unlikely to be the product that takes the experience outdoors.
But Magic Leap appears to be planning ahead. According to the interview, the company has plans beyond its first headset, and is already looking at a range of devices, including one aimed at the mass market that will be priced around the current cost of a flagship phone (probably somewhere between $600-$900). While that mass-market device isn’t the device Magic Leap is initially partnering with AT&T to create, it’s not hard to imagine that a smaller headset would be on the cards if the ML1 was to succeed. A partnership with AT&T will also help with the marketing of the device, getting the technology into the hands of as many people as possible.
Updated July 11: We added the news that Magic Leap’s secret benefactor has finally been revealed.